Poll: 65pct want to keep flag
Voting in the New Zealand flag referendum is well underway, but the latest 3 News-Reid Research poll suggests Prime Minister John Key's goal of changing it will fail.
Most Kiwis still want the current flag, and today the Prime Minister was criticised for using imagery associated with Jonah Lomu's death to push his case.
A broken silver fern was a powerful symbol of the loss of Lomu made by an Irish newspaper, seen by millions around the world, and used by the Prime Minister to argue why the flag must be changed.
Voting is now underway, but the five flags are failing.
The 3 News poll shows 65 percent want to keep the current flag. Just 28 percent want to change. The rest don't know or don't care.
So Mr Key is looking to the Lomu symbol for a boost. Labour has been quick to use Lomu too, to criticise Mr Key.
"I'm disgusted," says Labour MP Su'a William Sio. "It is crass and unbecoming of a Prime Minister."
Mr Key wants to change to a Kyle Lockwood flag. A majority, 54 percent, of Mr Key's National voters want to keep the flag, and 77 percent of Labour voters want to keep it. A majority – 52 percent – of Greens say keep it, as well as 79 percent of New Zealand First.
Bringing in the Red Peak hasn't helped. Before it was added in September, 67 percent wanted to keep the flag, and 29 percent wanted to change it.
Now, with Red Peak, it is 65 percent for keeping it and 28 percent for changing it.
Mr Key is right – the Lomu symbol is powerful – but it's clearly a version of the classic silver fern on black.
For some reason the Flag Consideration Panel didn't even give Kiwis that as an option.
It's too late now, as it looks like the flag change will fail.